Great Spaces: a pair of empty nesters trade their spacious Rosedale home for a bright condo in Summerhill
In the 1990s, Joe Gonda and Christine Turner lived in a 6,000-square-foot Rosedale home with five children—four from Turner’s first marriage, one from Gonda’s. When the kids headed off to university, the couple downsized to a 3,500-square-foot house nearby. But that soon felt too big as well. “There were empty bedrooms, and we never went to the third floor other than to look for the cat,” Turner says.
In 2004 they moved again, to a brand-new 1,700-square-foot condo in Summerhill. The 10th-floor space is just big enough for the two of them, who often work from home (he’s a York University philosophy professor, and she’s an executive coach). They hired Barbara Munn and David Neff of Yorkville Design Centre to turn it into a funky pad, giving the partners free rein except for one major thing: colour. Gonda and Turner were adamant that there be lots of it. Sunny yellow walls with elegant crown mouldings, saffron curtains and a high-gloss coral kitchen—all are a dramatic change from their previous houses. The couple started buying vibrant paintings and prints 20 years ago, but the muted earth tones of their Rosedale home didn’t do the art justice. Over the years, their tastes became bolder and brighter, until their unreserved style exploded here. “We always wanted to amp up the visual decibels,” Gonda says. “Now we finally have.”
The couches and chairs were purchased at Ridpath’s in the ’80s. They used to be off-white and pale blue, but they got a radical makeover for Gonda and Turner’s new home.
The couple bought this still life in the Place des Vosges during their first trip to Paris together, in 1991. It’s signed “Tondu,” but they’re doubtful that it’s a genuine work by the famed French artist.
The ceramic rain boots are from Quintessence Designs on Yonge Street. Gonda and Turner bought the larger pair because it matched the room’s colour palette. The smaller pair was a gift from Gonda’s son.
The ceilings are light pink instead of white, a subtle trick to highlight the way the sun catches the yellow walls.
The couple owns several ceramics by the local artist Hugo Quattrocchi, including this vase and artichoke. They met Quattrocchi when he owned a store on Roxborough, and they fell for his bright colours and patterns.
A friend gave Gonda this mounted Socrates cigar box about 30 years ago. Gonda refers to Socrates as his “patron saint” because they both specialize in philosophy.
The photojournalist Andrew Testa took this photograph in Kosovo on December 31, 1999. Gonda saw it in the New York Times and was enchanted by it. He tracked Testa down and told the artist he didn’t care how much it cost—he had to have the photo. Gonda eventually paid £250 for it.
Gonda and Turner bought this colourful Bonnici painting in the ’90s. “It was almost like we were buying a vision of how we’d be living in the future,” Turner says.
The couple picked up the corner chair at an antique store a few years ago. It’s raw silk, and Gonda calls it his “tuffet.” They keep it in the foyer for slipping on boots.
Designer Barbara Munn picked out the coral cabinets from Downsview Kitchen. They complement the glass-tiled backsplash, which shimmers like fish scales when the light hits it.
Munn found the saffron fabric for the bedroom drapes to match a swatch Gonda and Turner brought back from Nice, where they spent four months in 2003.
10 thoughts on “Great Spaces: a pair of empty nesters trade their spacious Rosedale home for a bright condo in Summerhill”
I love this place. The colour scheme is vibrant without being harsh. The only thing I don’t get is that chandelier in the living room which off to one side. It looks weird.
holy geez. hideous. looks like someone barfed on everything
Absoulutely Fabulous, it sings a joyful song, hard to be anything but cheerful in this place.
personally I like more modern/contemporary spaces but I think this is beautifully done. its extremely well put together and visually appealing. I do agree with the chandelier comment though. I think a bigger piece in the centre would have been much better. that chandelier almost belongs in a small space like a powder room or bathroom.
Where are you from ,bob? This is awesome! I love it.. I find Torontonians are always scared of colors, nice to see what someone did with it. While my first condo was half their space, I used colors galore (without an expensive designer) and my realtor told me it would be tough to sell- sold in 3 days!! Nice layout here too and the furniture is perfect!
Pretentious condo for pretentious people by the sounds of it. Even the writer sounds pretentious.
Amazing colours and warm vibrant space. Very nice job.
As an interior decorator, I must say, brilliant work was done by the design team to create such a warm and cosy nest for this couple!
Even on those grey, wet and wintery days in February, they have a refuge from the outside and can live in an environment of sunshine year round. Well done!
The room does work in the way it comes together, colour composition…chandalier point is on the mark. It is very extreme, vibrant and energetic. Having said that, it’s one of those rooms that you look at and you either love it or hate it
I wouldn’t define it as warm and cozy.
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